Friday, August 8, 2014

Convince me!!

Today was another good day.  Calc students had problems that they were working on in groups as I circled around and eavesdropped on conversations.  I LOVE listening to them talk math!  The competition consisted of multiple choice questions and I sit with each group and randomly select students in that group to tell me answers...picking a new person (or sometimes the same person) from the group each time to give me the next answer. This way they all HAVE to work together because they don't know who I will call on for each answer.  They worked the entire time.  What I really love is with whiteboards on the wall for every group, we could have discussions with diagrams to help them see concepts that aren't currently clear to them.  I also have mini whiteboards with graph grid on them and I noticed students reaching for those to draw a graph in order to choose the correct domain and range.  Such SIMPLE tools that kids now have quick access to by being placed in groups around the perimeter of the room.  I LOVE THIS NEW SET UP!

In Stats today, I made them answer questions to the Fruit Loop Activity.  They had to convince me about whether the mean and/or median would change if another data value was added.  What was "cool" was 5th and 6th period classes had different data that led to different rationale.  So my plan for Monday is to switch their data and see if they can answer the questions correctly with the other list.  Then I'll know whether or not they really have the concept.  But the discussions were SO POWERFUL!!  And I found out who could explain really well on paper (whiteboard).  We also had the discussion that it is not enough (in Stats) to say "he's guilty" and then just sit down.  There needs to be some evidence.  This was taking me back to the great presentation by Chris Luzniak (@plspeak) at TMC14 on arguments (argument = claim + warrant)!  I am definitely working this strategy into Stats this year!  Using that analogy was a quick way to get them to understand how much more they need top put into their explanations.

Here is what I noticed.  Some students were struggling with the concept of how the mean changed based on adding another data value until I said "so your test average is 80, what happens when you get a 60 on the next test?  Or a 95?  Or an 80?"  They could tell me the answer right away.  Interesting that it needs a certain context for them to have it conceptually, and when you use a different context (# of fruit loops in a handful), they don't get it so easily.  Perhaps we rely on the same contexts too often.  There definitely needs to be more real life brought into math lessons.  There next task is to select from 10 different data sets that I gave them to create 1 bar graph, 1 dotplot, 1 pie graph, 1 stemplot and 1 back-to-back stemplot.  It was fun to watch them start to discuss which data would be best choice for each graph.  I can't wait until Monday!!  I also can't wait to start using google forms with them and have them create their own surveys to collect their own data and then graph it and analyze it.  Laptops in the classroom open up so many opportunities!!

On another side-note, I got to share the awesomeness of Mathalicious (@mathalicious) with my department this morning!  I took them through about 3 lessons so they could see how useful they would be to our math teams.  In addition, I showed them the fantastic-ness (a new word) of Desmos (@desmos) and the 4 lessons in  So stellar!  I love opening up the world of technology for others they way it has been opened up to me!  It's so fun to share that wealth! I have gotten some colleagues to join twitter this week!! YAY!!

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